December 23, 2009

Inbox — Dec. 23, 2009

Letters to the Editor

Correction

In last week’s story “Business first,” we incorrectly referred to Republic Bank as a “foreign-owned conglomerate,” when in fact the bank is locally owned and has been since opening in Louisville in 1982. LEO regrets the error.

Homeboys

As a proud and longstanding Louisville corporate citizen, locally owned Republic Bank would like to correct a portion of the last paragraph in your “Business first” article in the Dec. 16 issue. Specifically, the article referred to Republic Bank as “a foreign-owned conglomerate that has been investigated by the SEC …”

Chartered in Kentucky in 1982, Republic is Kentucky’s largest bank-holding company based in Louisville. Our shares are traded on NASDAQ, and my family along with other local investors own controlling interest in our institution. Our bank has been voted as Louisville’s best financial institution three separate times by readers of your publication/browsers of your website; we employ nearly 800 individuals and are significant supporters of a multitude of local nonprofit groups and services.

Neither Republic nor any of its subsidiaries have ever been investigated by the SEC.

While I have always had respect for your publication, you can imagine my concern regarding these material inaccuracies.

Steve Trager, chairman and CEO, Republic Bank, Louisville

One More Loser

Regarding the Dec. 16 “Loserville 2009” feature, I noticed one glaring omission from the list: Barack Obama. I voted for Obama last November, and since he has taken office he has done nothing but disappoint me. From backing Larry Summers and Timothy Geithner funneling money to Wall Street execs at the expense of the taxpayer, to allowing two or three senators to completely derail health care reform, to now tentatively backing the reauthorization of the Patriot Act, Obama’s campaign slogan of “Change” now seems like little more than a flat-out lie.

Shane Shaughnessy, Beechmont

Enough Already

I was extremely disappointed to see LEO expend yet more ink to let Louisville know what a bad man David Norton is. A year and a half ago, while kicking some people out of his bar, he called them some bad words. One of these was a racial slur. He later issued a public apology. Now LEO wants us to know that in October, while kicking someone else out of his bar, he allegedly almost used another racial slur. Allegedly. Almost, but didn’t. And because of these two incidents (or maybe one-and-a-quarter is more accurate), you publish that he is “Louisville’s most outspoken bigot” and go on to describe him as a “plain old racist scumbag.”

Is this some sort of a joke? I look forward to that glorious day when Louisville’s most outspoken bigot will be a person who used a racial slur once and then thought about using one again but decided not to. I am sorry to report that we have a long way to go before that person will win top honors in Louisville bigotry, let alone rate several newspaper articles.

Shame on you, LEO. David Norton is not a politician or a public figure of any sort. For LEO to keep writing articles covering his bad behavior, or almost bad behavior, is terribly irresponsible, to say nothing of bizarre. Is this journalism? Is this really what LEO does with its time?

And to add insult to injury, you curiously describe the victims of this racist incident as “black LGBT customers,” implying Norton is a homophobe as well. You do not mention that he was the owner of a gay bar. You do not address the fairly obvious question of why the Fairness Campaign, an organization devoted to LGBT dignity and equality, has spent a year and a half protesting and boycotting the owner of a gay bar. The truth is that Norton’s crime was daring to insult someone who is personally connected with the Fairness Campaign, and the Fairness Campaign has decided to make this into a personal vendetta. This has zero to do with LGBT equality, and ironically, zero to do with fairness.

LEO’s continued attention to this personal squabble has zero to do with journalistic integrity.

Steve Loomis, Germantown

Life After Life

In his conclusion to the article “Death becomes us” (LEO Weekly, Dec. 9), George Halitzka says there may be something in between blind faith in an afterlife and blind denial (atheism). Unfortunately, nothing in the article covered this middle ground. Is there hard scientific proof of the test-tube and math formula for an afterlife? No, there isn’t. Is there evidence that points to its existence? Yes, there is.

Many people have had near-death experiences that have profoundly altered their lives physically and emotionally. Even atheists have become believers after one of these profound experiences. There have even been group near-death experiences. If you want to know more about these, check out www.near-death.com.

Also, people have experienced communication from a loved one after that person dies. These experiences come in all forms, from the subtle — a loving touch — to actual physical proof, such as protection from harm, guidance to a lost object, or objects manifesting like coins. There is a very interesting book by Bill and Judy Guggenheim, who collected more than 3,300 firsthand accounts from people who believe they have been contacted by a deceased relative or friend.

Besides, the three religions mentioned in the article and almost every other religion, spiritual path and esoteric teaching confirm that there is an afterlife of some sort. There have also been many scientists and philosophers throughout the ages who support the idea of an afterlife.

The Bahá’i faith teaches that we all have a spiritual aspect that continues to progress toward a greater understanding of God after the demise of the physical body. The founders of the Bahá’i faith created a system that is progressive, democratic and world embracing. They taught that science and religion should work together for the betterment of the planet. If you want to know more about the Bahá’i teachings on afterlife, go to www.bahai.org.

An open-minded person will look at all the evidence before they draw conclusions based on a pro- or anti-religious bias. Another of the Bahá’i principles is the Independent Investigation of Truth. An acknowledgement of an afterlife does not make one value this life less, since we are taught that this life is like a classroom in which we prepare ourselves for the next life.

Rita Butler, Beechmont

Lipstick Health Care

Not long ago, Mitch McConnell led the fear posse railing against expanded health care coverage for children. The program passed, kids are helped, and the world did not end. A lot of the same crowd pitched fear in opposing an increase in the minimum wage. Again, the bill passed, working families benefited, and the sun comes up each day.

In the context of the health care reform debate, the only card Mitch and other insurance industry shills have to play is fear. Truth trumped the death-panel scare this summer. These flag-wavers scream for budget discipline when insurance profits are threatened, but money’s no problem when sending troops abroad or buying untested weapons systems. Shameless hypocrisy.

One in eight Americans receives food stamps (one in four are children). Each day, 14,000 Americans lose their health insurance. The so-called health care reform plan in the Senate now is merely a Trojan horse delivering billions in additional profits to insurance coffers and leaving consumers with little more than road apples.

The president’s a brilliant dude. It’s stunning that he’s allowed himself to be rolled by small-minded (Connecticut Sen.) Joe Lieberman. Obama’s legacy was going to be delivering meaningful health care reform. The current Senate plan won’t do it. I’m with Howard Dean: Fix it or kill it, but don’t pass it and try to put lipstick on it.

The best democracy money can buy. Oy.

Mark McKinley, Louisville

No life after life

By brad40218
Unfortunately an acknowledgement of an afterlife actually DOES make folks value this life less. Think how true justice never seems to come for most victims in this life. We convince them that they will receive a reward for their patience next time or that the perpetrators will be punished then. Don't you think we might act a little differently towards each other if we knew that was never going to happen? Would we really stand by for (as much) inequality around the world if this was the only life that counted? The truth is, that if we acknowledged that this was it, lots of current behaviors would quickly become unacceptable. Until someone who has been buried for at least 6 months crawls out of the grave, I think the near-deathers throughout history were just that - not quite dead. Brad Nielan